A while ago a friend who runs the audio literary journal WordPlaySound asked me to try recording a story of mine and last week I finally had the time to sit down and give it a shot. Here are a few of the takeaways from the experience:
1. Garageband, which is the program I used to mix the audio, is incredibly complex but once you get a feel for it, it's also maddeningly addictive. The more I toyed with using different tracks and inserting sample loops and varying the volume on the individual tracks, the deeper down the rabbit hole I fell. Then, once I'd learn some other new trick or doo-dad, I'd want to go back and add it to all the previous stuff I'd recorded. The final mix ended up being kind of a Frankenstein's monster, which likely got better sounding as it went along.
2. It's super disorienting to record your voice. As a kid, I always thought my voice sounded strange when I'd hear it played back. Such instances were usually limited to home movies of birthdays and Christmas mornings, so at least they were a natural representation of my voice. It's a different ballgame when you're recording yourself for the purpose of being played back. I found myself weirdly over-enunciating certain syllables to a point where I sounded like I was talking in this absurdly affected British accent.
3. If you want to improve your writing, read it out loud. This is something I say to my composition students all the time and one of the tricks I use when I'm tutoring developmental writing students in the writing lab at school, but it applies just as equally to advanced fiction and nonfiction writers. Something about hearing yourself read your own writing helps cut right through the most wooden-sounding dialogue and spotlights the weakest turns of phrase. I can't recommend it enough.